More than 20 believers from Nanle County Christian Church, in Henan province, were recently detained. The crackdown occurred despite the fact that the church was legally registered, beginning with arrests on 16 November, when the pastor, Zhang Shaojie, arrived at the church for a meeting with the Nanle County Public Security Bureau Chief and a deputy.
However, sources believe the meeting was actually a ploy to detain the pastor. When Pastor Zhang arrived, approximately a dozen police officers, without showing formal documents, entered the church and bound him.
Church members and Zhang’s family gathered in front of the police station to protest his detainment. The group was denied entry to the building and some were beaten. According to church members, Pastor Zhang’s elderly parents were hospitalised for high blood pressure and his two sisters were apprehended. The next morning, as church members tried to attend church, they were detained by officers stationed at the gates of the church.
In order to prevent their own detainment, Pastor Zhang’s daughter, son-in-law, and their 10-month-old daughter were forced to flee Nanle County. Pastor Zhang’s daughter also reported receiving more than 10 threatening phone calls, with the callers making threats to “wipe out her entire family” if she continued to seek international help and provide information about the persecution of the church.
As well as pastoring the church, Pastor Zhang serves as the president of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Christian Church in Nanle County. “This case against even the officially approved churches again shows the current Chinese regime has no intention to relent its increasing persecution on citizens for religious freedom,” stated Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid.
Sources: ChinaAid, International Christian Concern
- Pray that the church will not be surprised at this opposition, but rejoice to suffer for Jesus’ name.
- Pray for those detained to be faithful and draw close to the Lord.
- Pray for safety and comfort for Pastor Zhang’s family.